LAZ takes illegal ministers to court

The Law Association of Zambia has petitioned the  Constitutional Court, seeking an order that all salaries and other emoluments being drawn by cabinet ministers be paid back to the country’s Treasury.

But the Constitutional Court has told LAZ that it cannot hear the matter until the court rules are issued.
LAZ, in its petition filed on Thursday afternoon, has cited
sixty-four cabinet, provincial and deputy ministers.

The association wants the court to also declare that deputy ministers were occupying offices illegally because the office was repealed under the constitution amendment Act number 2 of 2016.
It submitted that following the dissolution of Parliament on May 13, the continued occupation of the positions of cabinet and provincial minister was ultra vires the provisions of article 116 and 117 respectively.
LAZ is further seeking an interim order restraining the respondents from holding themselves out as ministers and deputy ministers.
“Your petitioner prays to be granted, by way of interim relief pending the hearing and determination of this petition, an order restraining the respondents from draw- ing and continuing to draw the salaries and allowances tied to the offices of minis- ter, deputy minister or provincial minister from the revenue,” LAZ submitted.
The association stated that the salaries and allowances of ministers and deputies were prescribed by ministe- rial and parliamentary offices (Emoluments) Act, Chapter 262 of the Laws of Zambia and were a charge on the general revenues of Zambia.
It prayed that the court grants it an order that “all the salaries and allowances and all other emoluments drawn by the twenty-fifth to the fifty-fifth respondents from the revenues of the Republic be paid back to the revenues of the Republic”.
It indicated that according to the provisions of section 11 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act number 1 of 2016, cabinet ministers were appointed by the President from among mem- bers of the National Assembly pursuant to the provisions of article 46(2) of the Constitution before amendment.

“Following the enactment of the Constitution (Amendment) Act number 2 of 2016, which came into effect on 5th January, 2016, the Constitution of Zambia ceased to provide for the office of deputy minister,” the association added.

LAZ stated that the life of the office of the President and Parliament had always been limited to a period of five years and that according to the provisions of article 72(1) of the Constitution, except for the Speaker and the first dep- uty Speaker, all members of parliament were required to vacate their seats upon dis- solution of Parliament.

And in an affidavit in sup- port of ex-parte application
for interim relief filed in court, LAZ president Linda Chishimba Kasonde submit- ted that Attorney General Likando Kalaluka assured the nation during one of the Sunday interview pro- grammes [on ZNBC] that ministers and deputy minis- ters would vacate their offices once Parliament is dissolved.
The application was yesterday supposed to be heard by Constitutional Court judges but could not take place.
Constitutional Court president judge Hildah Chibomba siting with others told LAZ president Linda Kasonde, constitutional lawyer John Sangwa and Chisuwo Hamweela, in chambers, that the matter could not be heard now because the Constitutional Court rules were yet to be issued.

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